Russian Federation: Forum AESI 3-6 October 2017 ST. PETERSBURG - MOSCOW

European Union and Russian Federation University cooperation for peace and solidarity

One of the basic challenges for the XXI Century is international peace and development in the light of the new world balance. Today, there are problems that can only be solved by action at the global level. New strategic thinking is required to approach global issues and advance “global public goods”. Consequently, international communities must become protagonists of a new strategy to intervene in crisis areas and to promote peace, human rights and development with a strategy based on realistic and effective foreign common policy.

Such a strategy must include the collaborative efforts of all the “international actors” while being rooted in the common goal of development of a strong cooperation culture of solidarity capable of understanding local needs and providing quick and efficient solutions that are at once professional and respectful of human dignity. Such a strategy must rely on cultural expertise and include expert knowledge of the theoretical elements of crisis and development management and the capability to understand the real comprehensive needs of the populations, and their historical and cultural roots in order to give effective answers to them, and to promote peace and development even in the first phases of the interventions.

The traditional “academic collaboration” is distinct from the “university cooperation for peace and development” understood as a strategy of action aimed to build a more developed and peaceful society. In fact, university cooperation needs to manage and deal with a double problem of independence in order to face the challenges to which it is called: from one side, it has to tackle the problem of research, didactics and operational services naturally built into the academic structure; from the other, it has to deal with the necessity of reconciling technical-scientific interventions, that must be tailored to the real demands of the local populations whose needs become are gradually discovered as the project proceeds.

When we speak about university cooperation we don’t refer only to the exchange of lecturers and researchers - which is usually the objective of traditional forms of academic collaboration - although this kind of activity may be very useful. University cooperation implies a more general strategy based on both analysis and action, of training and research in the field, of cooperation among the academy and civil institutions, diplomats and international organizations, volunteers and peace forces, in order to provide support in both the prevention and solution of crisis promoting future development.